2005 February 16 Wednesday
Senator John Cornyn Wants Even Easier Illegal Alien Amnesty

US Senator John Cornun (R-TX) thinks George W. Bush's proposal for a massive worker permit program for illegal aliens is too strict because it requires illegals to go back to their country of origin before applying to return with a work permit. Cornyn wants to simply convert illegals already in the United States into legal temporary workers.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee, also said he thinks new temporary workers from overseas must return home after their work visa ends, but he is skeptical about how successful it would be to have illegal aliens return home before applying for the program in the first place.

"A program that told people you'd have to leave to go apply for it would be viewed as sufficiently punitive that people would say, 'Look, I'll just take my chances under the status quo,' which to me is not good," Mr. Cornyn told The Washington Times in a recent interview in his office in the Senate Hart Office Building.

Now, it can be argued that he did not explicitly say the illegals should be able to apply for legal work permits while still in the United States. But he does not like the requirement to make them go home and he likes the work permit program idea. So his preferred solution is obvious: let them stay and just become legal workers.

If illegal aliens can not be expected to return home to apply for a work visa then why is it reasonable to expect that they would voluntarily return home when their work visa expired? Also, my guess is that many illegals who are already here working will just choose to stay here working illegally rather than identify themselves to authorities by applying for a work visa that might not be granted. After all, if an illegal has been here for many years already he or she probably thinks the odds of getting caught are pretty low. There is a big disincentive for illegals to become temporary workers: the application for a temporary worker permit effectively identifies and tags them to the government and starts a clock running where they will be expected to leave either if their work permit application is rejected or when their work permit expires. Why should long term illegal aliens - or those who have the ambition to be long term illegal aliens - give up the potential to live and work here many more years by applying for a work permit?

There are many reasons why Bush's illegal alien worker permit program will have many harmful effects and will not stop the flow of illegal aliens into the United States. See my previous post "Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal" for lists of arguments on various aspects of Bush's proposal.

In his January 2005 State Of The Union message George W. Bush made it clear that he still favors his massive alien worker permit program.

"It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists," Mr. Bush said.

The door can't be closed to terrorists without making illegal entry into the country extremely difficult for everyone. But Bush is not pushing to make all illegal entry much more difficult. So Bush is not really pushing to make illegal entry by terrorists much more difficult.

Tom Tancredo calls Bush's proposal a "pig with lipstick".

But the plan still faces serious obstacles, including strong opposition from a group of about 70 House conservatives led by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who has called it a "pig with lipstick."

Mark Krikorian doesn't think George W. Bush is being rational in formulating his immigration policies.

Mark Krikorian, president of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group favoring tighter immigration laws, says most guest workers will not want to return to their home countries.

A guest worker plan "assumes that we can use the labor of people and then get rid of them. No guest worker program has ever succeeded in doing that anywhere in the world," he said.


"The president is emotionally committed to open immigration," he said. "He is projecting his feelings for his gardener and his cook to all immigrants."

Yes, Bush's immigration policies are seem irrational (at least if we expect immigration policy to be formulated from the standpoint of US national interests). Though he may be pursuing rather narrow family interests by promoting the political future of his half-Mexican nephew George P. Bush. But even George P. Bush can't hope to pull in many Hispanic votes unless he switches his allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Cornyn and other Senators who favor either a worker permit program or even a more overt amnesty want to take the Real ID Act recently passed by the US House of Representatives and add the Real ID Act to a larger immigration bill that would create a work permit system.

Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary immigration subcommittee, said he is working with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to determine how to address the Sensenbrenner bill.

"I have always believed that we need to take a comprehensive look at immigration," said Cornyn, who supports the driver's license elements of the House bill.

The measure also mandates completion of a border fence near San Diego that has been held up amid environmental concerns.

So the immigration political fight of 2005 is shaping up as a fight between a US Senate that overall favors turning millions of illegal aliens into legalized workers in a worker permit system and a US House of Representatives whose Republican majority is opposed to worker permit proposals and who favor cracking down on illegals via a number of means including tougher laws for getting drivers licenses and tougher immigration law enforcement.

As the immigration debate develops in 2005 keep in mind the arguments I have in my post "Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal" for why the Bush proposal will not stop the flow of illegal aliens over the border and why it will not convert many of the currently illegal into legal status. The main effect of the Bush bill will be to create conditions for even larger influxes of illegals as more people come and work here and establish ties and accumulate resources here that will help them return illegally when their worker permits expire and to bring in family members illegally.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 February 16 06:24 PM  Immigration Politics

John S Bolton said at February 16, 2005 8:42 PM:

These proposals are ways of worsening the problem. How can our officials be so traitorous as to take the side of foreign criminals who are attacking our fellow citizens? The net taxpayers of this country are being attacked by the millions of foreigners who go on net public subsidy here. We owe loyalty to those of our country who are under attack by such foreigners, not betrayal. Officials must be foremost in defending against foreign aggressors. It is traitorous for them to lead the way toward increasing the aggression by hostile foreigners on our fellow citizens. For a foreign criminal to live here on net public subsidy makes him accessory to treason, and unfit for consideration as having any right not to be removed from our society.

someone said at February 16, 2005 9:03 PM:

You see, free immigration is just the market working as it should. Either that, or "fighting racism" or saving the world from poverty, or some such nonsense. Unfortunately all too many who call themselves conservatives and libertarians are allied with the far left when it comes to many issues involving "antiracism."

Daveg said at February 17, 2005 8:07 AM:

Cornyn just won his election and is good for six years. Brownback (another open border proponent) of Kansas is the same.

The open boarders lobby clearly understands their position is unpopular, so they pick people with six years of security to carrry the water.

Proborders said at February 17, 2005 8:24 AM:

Basically the illegal aliens who are in the US should leave voluntarily or be deported.

One way to encourage illegal aliens to voluntarily leave is for the government to become tougher on employers who hire illegal aliens. An employer who knowingly hires someone that he/she knows to be an illegal alien could be subject to a $10,000 fine. As fewer employers become willing to hire illegal aliens, more illegal aliens would likely return to their countries of origin.

People of various non-Mexican ethnicities could diplomatically talk about the large share of immigrants that are Mexican. White Americans can say that Europe has several times the population of Mexico, yet there are more Mexican immigrants in the US than European immigrants in the US (http://www.cis.org/articles/2003/back1203.html). Black Americans can say that there are many more black Africans than Mexicans, yet there are far more Mexican immigrants here than black immigrants (http://www.cis.org/articles/2003/back1203.html).

Daveg said at February 17, 2005 10:20 AM:

There needs to be a private right to sue companies for hiring illegal labor.

Hiring illegal aliens creates "negative externalities" that do not show up in the balance sheet. It is like pollution or smoking related illness.

Many private law firms sued tobacco companies for health care related costs incurred by the state. Perhaps the same could be done against large corporate farming companies. Surely these companies cause the state to incur huge health care expenses, not to mention education, jail and law enforcement expenses.

Randall Parker said at February 17, 2005 10:26 AM:


My guess is that such a right to sue already exists and is waiting to be exploited. I'd love to see class action suits against employers on behalf of every American they've never hired because they hired illegals instead.

BTW, one of my modest proposals for catching and deporting all illegal aliens is to offer a financial reward to private citizens for turning them in. I figure $500 a head would bring in floods of illegal alien reports. The reward wouldn't need to be paid on every single illegal in the country because once serious headway began to be made in deportation the rest would self-deport.

Daveg said at February 17, 2005 11:24 AM:

While the bounty model would be effective, I prefer to go after the corporations, which are the more powerful and less sympathetic target.

Rich Walden said at February 17, 2005 12:05 PM:

I think everone would agree that the illegal problem is not going to be easily solve in one swell foop. Our economy has adapted to the presence of illegal migrant labor such that there would be considerable upset if they all suddenly disappeared. There is even a movie about it though I haven't seen it.

I live on one of the main smuggling routes out of southern Arizona and it makes life a tad exciting from time to time. In light of that, I know without a doubt something must be done. Arizona passed Prop 200 to control voting and welfare usage by illegals. It was declared into law, but there is still court action ongoing as to the areas of welfare it will cover. It is a very small start, but may be the beginning of a more general movement.

While federal law would be the best way to control the problem, I think that the state route will be more effective in the long run. In particular the suggestion that a worker could sue for lost employment due to the hiring of an illegal would be a real winner in our "sue them all and let the judge sort em out" society. Can you imagine the load on the civil dockets if ever worker who had applied for work and was not hired sued the company. I bet the companies would clean up their act and the states would pass laws and levy fines for those who don't.

Good discussion folks, its why I come here often

Just an Old Fogey moaning in the desert.

crush41 said at February 17, 2005 11:14 PM:

There needs to be a private right to sue companies for hiring illegal labor.

Knowingly hiring illegals falls under the definition of racketeering. The RICO Act (http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18_10_I_20_96.html) provides a legal leg to bring forward a lawsuit by any private body, at least potentially.

"I know a family. The father was deceased. He was an American citizen. Mama is a permanent resident of the United States. The second oldest daughter, who is our friend, is a U.S. Born American citizen and a college student and a wonderful, wonderful young lady. And her younger brother, who is 15, is a United States citizen, also born in San Jose. But little brother, who is 7, is undocumented. We are trying to help on the documentation for this but right now he is an ''illegal alien.'' And I don't think that 7-year-old child is a terrorist threat. If we are going to spend resources going after that 7-year-old those are resources that we cannot apply to the terrorists.

There is another little known truth, but it is something I think we need to be honest about, which is that the American economy has relied for many, many years on the presence of undocumented workers in certain industries. If you enjoy the salad this afternoon, you enjoyed the fruit of the labor of undocumented workers in California in the Imperial Valley who pick our crops in the hot sun without benefit of documents, and those undocumented farm workers are I would believe not the terrorist threat that concerns us all."

(From hearing before the subcommittee on immigration, border security, and claims 2002)

Is the above the best stated argument for amnesty/open borders. The US economic argument makes little sense because the work illegals do is artificially kept alive through government subsidies. It's like throwing nails on the road and then saying it's a good investment to coat car tires so no one will get flats. This country's self-immolation is so depressing and it's not going to stop until we get rocked. Would you say another 9/11 might actually be GOOD for the economy in the long-term if the perpetrators are traced back to the southern border?

crush41 said at February 17, 2005 11:26 PM:

Ah, the RICO Act was cited in the case against Tyson, though I can't seem to find out how that one turned out. Is it still pending?

Proborders said at February 18, 2005 3:57 PM:

C41, the following link is from 2002: http://www.vdare.com/letters/tl_091602.htm

Daveg said at February 19, 2005 8:29 AM:

Thanks for the vdare link.

Apparently this suit was reinstated last June, which is very interesting.

See http://www.srimedia.com/artman/publish/article_838.shtml

Soemthing to keep our eye on.

Proborders said at February 21, 2005 11:36 AM:

C41 and Daveg, the Oklahoma Fair Employment Act, if enacted, would give Oklahoma workers the right to sue their former employers if they were fired and illegal aliens were hired in their place. See http://www.ardmoreite.com/stories/022005/new_0220050038.shtml

James E. Walsh -PHCS-USN-RET said at May 7, 2005 6:38 AM:

I am concerned about several Emails that DOD (Dr. CHU) is trying to delete or change some of the TRICARE for Life for Military -Active Duty benifits that we receive , claiming that our cost is effecting the Active Military ability need for new Weaponry. Would you please give me your thoughts along these lines.-----RESPY. James E. Walsh - PHCS -USN - RET

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